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Eric Young

Eric Young

Pearce Memorial Free Methodist Church
North Chili, NY.
Quizzed 1988 - 1991
Inducted 2003


Favorite Scripture

The one Scripture that I came to cling to as a teen was Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Although my motivations for quizzing were not what most coaches want to hear, I did try to place my trust in Him. My life was anything but full of joy and peace. Constant struggles at home did not place much hope in my life. It was only from my own decision to place my trust in the Lord that there was any glimmer of hope for my life. 

Today I view 2 Corinthians 12:9a as my favorite Scripture, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'" It was in retrospect that I realized that it was only by the grace of God that I was saved. It was in the weakest times of my life when the Lord was able to work in me the most. It was in those times when I relinquished control that the Lord was able to step in and carry me. This promise of Scripture has been one I have come back to many times over the years. I have had many thorns in my flesh, but the Lord has always been faithful. For when I am weak, then I am strong!

Questions & Answers
What were the highlights of your quizzing years?

The biggest highlight my first year of quizzing was our trip to Seattle, WA for nationals at Seattle Pacific University. Flying on a 747 from Newark, NJ for the first time was a thrill. Our trips to the Space Needle and the ferry ride to Bremerton for ice cream were great! Who could ever forget the HUGE water balloon fight on the hill between the residents of Ashton and Hill Halls? The Winona Lake, IN tournament was always a highlight for us. I could not tell you who owned the home, but every year our team was invited to take over this couple's house while they vacationed. One year there was an ice storm and we were forced to cram everyone into one van and leave the others behind with our gear somewhere in Ohio. Our team would also have a retreat on the first weekend of June at RWC's Davis Mountain. We would spend time growing closer as a team and of course, studying! These were always great times together. At the end of our season we would also have a banquet to award and recognize all of the quizzers. Our coaches would come up with these absurd awards for us. I recall earning the Navigator Award for my skill in getting us around Seattle and the Un-bonding Award, a take on Donald Joy's classic book for my many crushes. Most importantly were the relationships our coaches had with us. They always took a genuine interest in our lives and we had many times of prayer together where we would bare our souls and there would not be a dry eye in the house. I particularly recall one Sunday when one our quizzers broke down over the impending divorce of her parents. I know I recall that specific time because it rang true to my situation that I was also in at the time. My head coach became my second mom and helped guide me through many difficult times in my life.

Did you or your team win any championships? If so, what and when?

Our STV team was the Genesee Conference champs in 1989, 1990 and 1991. I was the STV Individual Champion for the Genesee Conference in 1990. I was a part of the Genesee Superkwik QUIC team in 1998 that took 2nd at Nationals (Spring Arbor). I finished 5th for QUIC Individuals in 1998 at Nationals (Spring Arbor).

Did you receive any other special quizzing awards? If so, what?

Best Balanced Team, 1989 Nationals at Seattle Pacific University; Spit Shine Award, 1990 Nationals at Roberts Wesleyan College

How did Quizzing affect you as a teen?

Growing up I found myself being torn apart by parents who were divorced and the spouses that they remarried. I took refuge in the church, but more importantly I took refuge in the youth group. I did not want to be home, so any opportunity that I had to get out of the house, I did. This was the primary motivation I had when I started quizzing. I also was big into sports and was a top swimmer at my school and the league that we were in. In the summer after my freshman year, I hurt my back and it required surgery. I was no longer able to compete. Quizzing was an outlet for my competitive spirit. I liked to win, and I studied to win. 

My ability to quote Scripture quickly and at opportune times did not win me any points with my peers at school. Despite my motivations, I tried to do well. I tried to build up those who were weak. I found myself in trouble at times with teachers and the principal because of my beliefs. It was a way for me to stand out at school, a way to be noticed. 

The biggest affect on me as a teen was the fact that I found a family outside of my home that loved me and cared for me. My coaches were of great support to me. Debbie Sommerville, our head coach, was my second mom. As a teen, quizzing was a way to escape and a way for me to feel important because of how I performed. As a teen, the Word was committed to my memory. Only later, once I was in college, did the Word make a permanent 10-inch move from my head and into my heart.

What difference has quizzing made in your life to this day?

The Word of God tells us that His Word will not return void. This promise was fulfilled in my life. While motivations for quizzing were purely competitive for me as a teen, the Word that I had committed to memory began to work in my life. In college I found myself caught up in the world of smoking and alcohol. It took hitting rock bottom for me to be shaken. One morning I found myself on the streets of Buffalo, wet from the rain and unclear on what happened that night. It was then when I cried out to God, "There has to be more to my life than this! I am tired of chasing after things that only hurt me!" It was time to stop just listening to Word; it was time to do what it said. 

The Lord began to work and the Word that I had memorized found residence in my heart. Through the help and support of friends, I was back on my feet. It was then that the Lord began to tug at my heart. He was calling me to His ministry; and in an effort to run and leave my past behind me, I enrolled at Roberts Wesleyan College to study Religion and Philosophy. If it wasn't for the work that I had put in for quizzing, the committing of his Word to my memory, it would have never been available to me when I needed it most. His Word did not return void in my life. It profoundly changed me. 

Quizzing continues to make a difference in my life even today. I provide leadership for quizzing because it is my way of giving back to the program that helped save me. It is a way for me to have a positive influence on teens, in an effort to help them avert the path that I took- the hard one. Many coaches have differing philosophies on how to lead a team. For me, I realize that quizzing is not for everyone, but I have made an effort to make it that way. Whether a quizzer is putting in 100% effort or only 10% effort, they are opening the Word of God. Teens are being exposed to His Word. Teens are being shown an example by their coaches as to what it means to lead godly lives. Quite frankly, some teens just need the interaction. They need to be around peers and out of their homes. I would much rather have a teen giving 10% with me at a tournament on a Saturday than left behind to get drawn into worldly things. I cannot think of a better way for teen to spend a Saturday than quizzing over His Word. 

It is a privilege to be a part of a teen's spiritual journey. It is so amazing to see a teen come into the quizzing program in 6th grade and to watch him or her mature over the years. To be able to stand with them at graduation and to know that you had a profound impact on how they will continue on in life is quite overwhelming.

Are you presently involved in Bible Quizzing in any way or have you been since you were a quizzer? If so, how?

I am presently the Northeast Regional Director and the Genesee/Susquehanna Conference Director for FMC Bible quizzing. I have served in these roles for the past 4 and 5 years, respectively. I am also working with Mike Hopper this year as a co-director of the National tournament at RWC. I have also served as a coach for the start-up team at New Hope FMC in the city of Rochester, NY. Prior to coaching at New Hope I served as the head coach of the Pearce Memorial FMC in North Chili, NY for 3 years. While in college, I attended quiz tournaments as a quizmaster.

What ministries are you currently doing? How are you presently active in serving the Lord?

Currently I am an Associate Pastor at the Gowanda, NY FMC working full-time with youth. Our youth group, called YES Inc. (Youth Equipped to Serve in the Name of Christ), is very active in our community and is committed to growing in their relationships with God and with each other. 

In Gowanda youth leaders from Assembly of God Church and Youth for Christ are partnering with us to pursue a Youth Center. I also serve on the Board of Directors for LOVE InC of the Greater Gowanda Area. For people in need and those wanting to help them, LOVE InC is an answer to prayer. I continue to serve the Bible quizzing ministry giving leadership to our local quiz team and to the Northeast Region of Conferences. There are 3 conferences in our region that do not have quiz teams and we pray for leaders who will rise up and be willing to promote quizzing.